Leverkusen Equalize Late in Munich

Marc Separator September 15, 2023

Thomas Tuchel lined up with a similar but slightly changed starting eleven as Sven Ulreich, Konrad Laimer, Dayot Upamecano, Kim Min Jae, Alphonso Davies, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sané, Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry and Harry Kane started for the Bavarian side.

Three Things We Noticed

Good Phases

Bayern started off the match extremely positively. The opening 20 minutes were dominated by the Munich side and resulted in 1-0 lead thanks to a headed goal from Kane off a corner from Sané.

However the second 20 minutes of the first half were nearly as bad as the first 20 were good. They managed to escape giving up more than one goal by the skin of their teeth, only allowing a fantastic free kick goal that was unsavable for Ulriech.

Then they managed succeeded those 20 minutes with another five of complete dominance where they could have scored two or three more goals.

What’s noticeable is that Bayern consistently have more energy, better movement, crisper passing and better pressing in these phases. When they’re playing like that, they look unbeatable. But as I mentioned there are also the bad phases.

Bad Phases

There are far too many times where Bayern look very poor. And there are consistent characteristics of those times.

First of all, the play against the ball becomes extremely lax. The team as a whole seems to just take their foot off the gas and give their opponents an inexplicable amount of time on the ball.

This has allowed their opponents to find through balls and space behind the defenders which increases the pressure and chances of errors on the defense.

Then there is the poor passing in all areas of the pitch that lead to giveaways and more chances. A big part of that is due to the utter lack of movement off the ball. When this team gets into these phases, it seems as if there are 3-4 players that are moving while the rest of them are standing in a small bit of space watching the action.

For me all these are all things that Tuchel absolutely should be able to affect and change. Most of these problems, at least in my opinion, are new to the Tuchel era. I’m sure they are a result of differences in his tactics vs his predecessors but they cannot continue. He has to find a solution to find more consistency in all areas of the game or this team will be in serious trouble later in the season.

Sluggish Second Half

The second half brought more questions. Both teams looked as though they had expended every ounce of energy they had during the opening 45 minutes as each team was content to hold the ball for long periods with the occasional chance on goal.

Tuchel made the usual five changes throughout the second half but even that wasn’t straightforward. Oddly, he chose to take off Kimmich in favor of leaving on Goretzka despite a pretty lackluster performance. I can only assume Tuchel thought Kimmich was not capable of playing the full 90 despite what Josh thought.

That move looked better in retrospect though as it would be Goretzka who would give Bayern their second goal and apparent winner. Mathys Tel set up the German for a tap in from the top of the six yard box to make it 2-1. However in the third minute of added time, Davies would just clip Jonas Hofmann on the edge of the area and after VAR review a penalty was given which Exequiel Palacios converted 2-2.

Overall the performance from both sides in the second half was poor. Perhaps it was the quick restart after the international break but it seems as though there might also be some questions of fitness levels within the team. Hopefully it’s just an early season blip but it’s also something to keep an eye on as things start to ramp up.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. Thank you Marc for your quick and valuable sum up as always. The first half was play at high tempo, plus, oddly, instead of having this highlight game of the 4 round on Sarturday, it was on Friday, just 3 days after a lot of international games (on Tuesday). The drop of intensity is therefore more understandable.

    Regarding Kimmich, Tuchel himself said he took him off due to advice from the doctors.

    I am also curious to see how the team can improve its consistency, match-to-match, but especially between phases of a match. At the beginning of the season Tuchel said this explicitly, I expect him to be able to do that.

    The attack, during thế good phases, looked good, but the involvement of Harry Kane is still rather limited. He had very few touches in the box, and very few shots, either.

    Do you think a more disciplined and defensive minded midfielder (Palinha?) would in theory help to stabilize the midfield and the whole structure during the bad phases in a game like last night?

    Lastly, Leverkusen looks exciting and lively. I hope they do well in Europe this season.

  2. Sadly Bayern have a mentality problem and it does not only come from the management and the players. Those are just symptoms.

    Bayern will win 27 of the next 30 Bundelsiga titles. This makes the championship beyond boring and uninteresting even for die-hard fans. Most simply gave up watching any competition with a German team in it and would rather enjoy a weiss beer while watching the EPL rather than the Bayernliga. This state of things translates into guaranteed money irrespective of how good or bad any team plays because there are zero expectations from any B-liga teams.

    When everyone knows that the same money will keep on coming in irrespective of what they do, there is no reason whatsoever to even try. After all, not one of us would bother with our jobs if the money would still come in when we work just 1h a day.

    So, we have a beyond boring league where most teams focus only on selling players to the EPL and making money. The sporting aspect is completely lost due to lack of competition.

    That brings me to this year’s Bayern team: a coach that has never created teams which play fun football, a team full of either players who are very inconsistent and on high salaries (Gnabri, Sane, Goretzka), players who refuse to retire or take a step back to allow the younger generation (Muller, Neuer), young players who never get to play and develop (Tilman, Vidovic, Stanisic, Wanner), players who do not play regularly enough in a fixed role (Davies, Marzaoui, Tel, Musiala) and you have a team that is beyond boring to watch and who knows it will get the highest revenue in the league each year.

    My biggest regret is that the team’s management did not allow Flick and Naggelsman to clear out all the old and non-performing players while promoting young talent. It is enough to see how each coach was attacked and undermined by the managers when someone like Muller did not play or when they did not give enough playing time to their so called stars (Sane, Gnabri) to justify the money they are paid.

    I used to be a fan for many years, but not anymore as the team has lost all its values. These days my friends and family prefer a get together where we can have some good beer and watch fun matches in the EPL. Also, we threw away all our B-liga merchandise and bought stuff from the English clubs. We’ll never go back even though those were clubs from our mother country. Faith has been lost and will never be regained.

    Answer Icon1 ReplyClose child-comments
    1. OK? Thanks for your opinion, enjoy the EPL. Perhaps next try to find a Rolling Stones blog and pontificate on how you like the Beatles better and never want anything to do with the Stones.

  3. Actually the first goal came from a corner from Sané, and not Kimmich, important point to highlight. And Tuchel said that the Kimmich only had 60 minutes of playing time accordingly to the FCB doctors.

  4. Not that I suspect this will stop the comments regarding Tuchel’s interview but I wrote and published this prior to the confirmation from Tuchel that he pulled Kimmich because they had agreed he could only play 60 minutes. For the corner, I missed that Sané took that corner. I’ll correct it.

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